New USC baseball staff salaries top $2 million. How much money does sport bring in?

Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com

South Carolina’s Board of Trustees governance committee approved new baseball coach Paul Mainieri’s hiring and contract in a meeting last Tuesday. His deal will run for five years with an annual salary of $1.3 million.

That’s a 73.8% increase from the salary USC’s previous baseball coach Mark Kingston made in fiscal year 2023 (October 2022 to September 2023), according to South Carolina’s latest available financial report.

Mainieri and his new coaching staff combined are projected to earn over $2 million a year in the university’s largest-ever investment in the baseball program. The sport at USC and across the Southeastern Conference, however, doesn’t turn a profit.

“When you do a reset, you look at the marketplace and maybe we weren’t financially where we needed to be in the marketplace,” athletics director Ray Tanner said after Mainieri’s introductory press conference Thursday. “I know winning dictates a lot of that, but we were probably a little bit low. Now, I’ll say this. Coach Mainieri’s contract is a nice one. But if you go look at the rest of the head coaches in the SEC, I think he’s number (eight). So there’s room to grow there. That’s really all it was.”

Kingston’s fiscal year 2023 salary of $747,924 would rank 11th out of 14 SEC coaching salaries during the 2024 season, according to salary figures reported by The Tennessean. Mainieri’s contract makes him tied with Mississippi State’s Chris Lemonis as the eighth-highest paid coach in the now-16-team conference, which will add Texas and Oklahoma for baseball in 2025.

The BOT governance committee also made Monte Lee the highest paid assistant coach in baseball Tuesday with a three-year contract for $550,000 a year — up from the $275,000 he made as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator the past two seasons. New pitching coach Terry Rooney’s three-year, $425,000 a year contract was approved as well. USC also announced the addition of current Virginia staffer John Hendry as Mainieri’s third assistant coach, but his contract won’t be finalized until after Virginia’s run in the Men’s College World Series comes to an end.

These grand gestures of investment come in conjunction with Tanner’s third baseball head coaching hire. Tanner led the program for 16 years (1996-2012), and under his watch the Gamecocks won two NCAA Division I Baseball Championships (2010, 2011) in six Men’s College World Series appearances, three SEC championships (2000, 2002 and 2011) and an SEC tournament title (2004).

He was making just over $500,000 annually before he moved into the athletics director role.

Is college baseball a revenue generating sport?

South Carolina baseball lost $1,383,789 in fiscal year 2023, spending $1,418,902 total on coaching salaries (one head coach and two assistant coaches). These new contracts for Mainieri and his three-assistant staff mark a 60.34% increase in coaching salary spending (up to $2.275 million), with Hendry’s pay still to be determined.

Baseball losing money is not an uncommon occurrence throughout the conference, though. Ole Miss made $166,126 in fiscal year 2023, but most other schools reported a negative net revenue in the millions. (Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama baseball each reported losses exceeding $4 million.)

At South Carolina, only football ($25,853,594) and men’s basketball ($3,610,945) reported positive net revenue in fiscal year 2023. Every other sport reported a negative net revenue exceeding $1 million except for beach volleyball (which lost $898,341) and men’s golf (which lost $795,906).

South Carolina baseball spending in FY2023

Revenue: $4,546,116

Expenses: $5,929,905

Net Revenue: minus -$1,383,789

Mark Kingston salary:

  • $622,924 from USC

  • $125,000 from third party

  • $747,924 total

Assistant coaching salaries (two positions): $670,978

Total coaching salary expenses (three positions):

  • HC $747,924

  • ASST $670,978

  • $1,418,902 total

South Carolina net revenue by sport in FY2023

  • Baseball: minus -$1.38 million ($5.93 million expenses, $4.55 million revenue)

  • Men’s basketball: $3.61 million ($7.95 million expenses, $11.56 million revenue)

  • Women’s basketball: minus -$5.72 million ($10.78 million expenses, $5.05 million revenue)

  • Beach volleyball: minus -$898,341 ($965,518 expenses, $67,177 revenue)

  • Equestrian: minus -$2.35 million ($2.71 million expenses, $351,625 revenue)

  • Football: $25.85 million ($42.86 million expenses, $68.71 million revenue)

  • Men’s golf: minus -$795,906 ($816,286 expenses, $20,380 revenue)

  • Women’s golf: minus -$1.07 million ($1.21 million expenses, $144,659 revenue)

  • Men’s soccer: minus -$1.46 million ($1.73 million expenses, $269,189 revenue)

  • Women’s soccer: minus -$2.12 million ($2.4 million expenses, $275,079 revenue)

  • Softball: minus -$2.2 million ($2.467 million expenses, $261,717 revenue)

  • Men’s swimming and diving: minus -$1.35 million ($1.88 million expenses, $526,017 revenue)

  • Women’s swimming and diving: minus -$1.75 million ($2.36 million expenses, $608,333 revenue)

  • Men’s tennis: minus -$1.16 million ($1.3 million expenses, $138,243 revenue)

  • Women’s tennis: minus -$1.15 million ($1.29 million expenses, $137,835 revenue)

  • Men’s track and field, cross country: minus -$1.86 million ($2.28 million expenses, $418,395 revenue)

  • Women’s track and field, cross country: minus -$2.97 million ($3.55 million expenses, $577,608 revenue)

  • Volleyball: minus -$1.77 million ($2.03 million expenses, $260,688 revenue)

*Million-dollar figures rounded to the nearest hundredth

SEC baseball coaching salaries 2024

  • Vanderbilt — Tim Corbin: $1,942,165*

  • Florida — Kevin O’Sullivan: $1.755 million

  • LSU — Jay Johnson: $1.65 million

  • Ole Miss — Mike Bianco: $1.625 million

  • Tennessee — Tony Vitello: $1.5 million

  • Texas A&M — Jim Schlossnagle: $1.46 million

  • Arkansas — Dave Van Horn: $1.4 million

  • Mississippi State — Chris Lemonis: $1.3 million

  • South Carolina — Paul Mainieri: $1.3 million

  • Auburn — Butch Thompson: $1.275 million

  • Texas — David Pierce: $1.2 million

  • Alabama — Rob Vaughn: $900,000

  • Oklahoma — Skip Johnson: $775,000

  • Kentucky — Nick Mingione: $705,000

  • Georgia — Wes Johnson: $702,000

  • Missouri — Kerrick Jackson: $675,000

*According to most recently available tax records (2022)

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